With a lofty league position and takeover talk swirling round at the minute, it’s hard not to get even little bit excited as a Newcastle fan at the moment. After all, in recent memory opportunities to do so have been few and far between.
Here at the blog its got us reminiscing about former players and best NUFC XI’s over the years. To make it interesting, what do you feel is our best ever XI from the 21st century?
We had a go here, complete with subs bench which will no doubt cause much debate but here goes!
GK: Shay Given
One of our longest serving players and a rock in between the posts for over a decade. A great shot stopper and what he lacked in distribution and aerial prowess he made up for in match winning displays.
RB: Warren Barton
Another great servant who left the club in 2002. Signed for a British record for a defender when he joined Newcastle, Barton was an excellent full back and is an area we have struggled with historically since.
CB: Jonathan Woodgate
Woodgate, when fit of course, was an outstanding defender; the best I have seen as an NUFC fan. His ability to read the game and commanding presence made such a difference to the squad that were flying high under Sir Bobby. If he had stayed fit we may have even won a trophy and his ability was rewarded with a move to Real Madrid.
CB: Fabricio Coloccini
Left under a bit of a cloud a few years ago but Coloccini at his best was a classy centre half. Took a while to adapt to English football and arguably was at his best when we finished 5th under Alan Pardew, culminating in him being voted in the Premier League team of the year. He was classy on the ball, read the game superbly and was a calm influence at the back.
LB: Olivier Bernard
Tough call with Bernard and Enrique but when on form his final product was a little better. Always linked well with Robert on the left hand side and was physically strong too. Faded badly towards the end of his time here and retired early due to poor fitness, but in his prime was a great player and key part of the team who enjoyed Champions League football.
RM: Nolberto Solano
Nobby was one of the few positive things Kenny Dalglish brung to the club when he signed for a bargain £2.5m. During two spells at Newcastle he won the love the Geodis nation with his great work rate, understanding of the area and understanding delivery from the right wing. A clever player that could always be counted on.
CM: Gary Speed
The late Gary Speed was a genuine leader and brilliant box to box midfielder. He could play in the front of the back four, pick a pass and was outstanding in the air. His experience got the best out of our young side that qualified for the Champions League and could be counted on in big games.
CM: Yohan Cabaye
Cabaye is rightly vilified in Newcastle after forcing a move from the club and also for a horror challenge last weekend on Yedlin, but it is easy to forget in his prime at NUFC just how good he was. The heartbeat of the side that came 5th, he was a class act and a set piece specialist.
LM: Laurent Robert
The flamboyant French winger just edges his compatriot Ben Arfa for a place in the side in my opinion after delivering over a longer period of time. Scored some truly spectacular goals and although inconsistent at times, he still racked up an impressive amount of goals and assists during his time of Tyneside. Those two strikes against Spurs will live long in the memory.
ST: Alan Shearer (C)
Who else? Of course Shearer makes the team; our record scorer carried the team for the decade he was at his boyhood club. Still the Premier League’s top all-time scorer, it is hard to imagine we will ever be fortunate enough to have a player of his ability lead the line in our lifetime.
ST: Demba Ba
Ba gets the nod for his lethal few seasons in front of goal while at Newcastle. 29 goals in 54 appearances says it all and the Senegalese scored all types of goals. I always remember him terrorising Manchester United during their 3-0 drubbing on Tyneside. One of many to leave and struggle elsewhere but when at NUFC, was superb.
Tim Krul, Jose Enrique, Nikos Dabizas, Hatem Ben Arfa, Kieron Dyer, Kevin Nolan, Craig Bellamy.
What would your team be?